Wafer Processing with Nordson March’s SPHERE Wafer Series

Nordson MARCH's SPHERE series plasma systems are perfect for wafer processing before the usual back-end packaging steps, as well as wafer fan out, wafer-level packaging, flip-chip, 3D packaging and traditional packaging.

The patented chamber design and control architecture enables short plasma cycle times with very low overhead, guaranteeing that throughput for the application of the customer is maximized and cost of ownership is reduced.

The SPHERE series systems support automated handling and processing of square or round wafer/substrate sizes ranging from 75 mm to 300 mm. Additionally, thin wafer processing with or without carriers is possible, based upon wafer thickness.

The patented plasma chamber design offers outstanding etch uniformity and process repeatability. Major plasma applications include a range of ashing, etching and descum steps.

Other plasma processes include surface roughening, contamination removal, increasing wettability, and improving bonding and adhesion strength, dielectric etch, organic contamination removal, wafer bumping, photoresist/polymer stripping and wafer destress.

Wafer Cleaning - The SPHERE series plasma systems remove contamination prior to wafer bumping, remove fluorine and other halogen contamination, remove organic contamination and remove metal and metal oxides. Plasma also enhances spun-on film adhesion and cleans metallic bond pads.

Wafer Etching - Plasma systems descum wafer of residual photoresist and BCB, pattern dielectric layers for redistribution, strip/etch photoresist, improve adhesion of wafer applied materials, eliminate excess wafer applied mold /epoxy, improve adhesion of gold solder bumps, destress wafer to minimize breakage, enhance spun-on film adhesion, and clean aluminum bond pads.

Models and Configurations

StratoSPHERE™ Plasma System: Built for high-throughput processing of semiconductor wafers up to 300 mm (12”) in diameter. The patented plasma chamber design offers superior etch uniformity and process repeatability. Its three-axis symmetrical chamber guarantees all areas of the wafer are treated consistently, while tight control over all process parameters guarantees very repeatable results.

  • Software controlled change-over reduces transition from 200 mm to 300 mm wafers
  • Load ports support 200 mm open cassettes or 300 mm FOUP
  • Production-ready wafer handling supports edge-grip or backside transfer of wafer
  • Modular design allows single or dual chamber system configuration
  • Unique end-effector design can transfer a variety of wafer thickness and weights
  • Chamber kits isolate plasma distribution directly above the wafer, maximizing throughput and uniformity

MesoSPHERE™ Plasma System: Whether it is fan-out, fan-in, wafer-level or panel-level, the MesoSPHERE™ system is suitable for extremely high-throughput processing of wafers or substrates up to 480 mm. It includes field-proven plasma chambers together with a ground-breaking handling system that can transfer square or round substrates and bonded or frame carriers.

Constructed upon the patented F3 symmetrical chamber design, all areas of the substrate are treated equally, ensuring excellence within wafer and wafer-to-wafer uniformity.

  • Modular design allows capacity increase on a per plasma chamber basis
  • EFEM integration supports from one to four plasma chambers
  • Pocket chuck design esnures accurate substrate placement and centering, maximizing process repeatability
  • Configurable for wafer, wafer-on-frame and round/square substrates up to 480 mm
  • Plasma confinement technology isolates plasma distribution directly above the wafer, minimizing undesired secondary reactions

Option: Plasma Confinement Ring

In order to accelerate the etching process, the Plasma Confinement Ring focuses plasma directly over a wafer providing even plasma coverage and isolating the plasma on the wafer itself instead of the area below or around it. Process temperatures can be maintained as low as possible, because the ring boosts the etch rate capability and there is no need to add bias to the chuck or increase the electrode temperature.

The ring is made with a non-conductive, insulated material, whereas the aluminum-to-aluminum plasma conduction path is limited to the wafer area. A 2 mm gap exists between the ring and the wafer frame and adhesive tape.

Since there is no plasma generation or plasma at the base of the adhesive tape and wafer, delaminating and undercutting are reduced and there is no sputtering or deposition of adhesive tape on the wafer surface. The overall chamber volume is lowered to just the area over the wafer. It is available for Nordson MARCH’s SPHERE series.

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